How Do You Tell Your Elderly Loved One with Alzheimer’s That Your Mom or Dad Passed Away?

a-1 home care cancer care pico riveraYour parents are one-of-a-kind.  In an age when divorce is rampant, your parents remained together and have been as lovey-dovey as they were when they first met.  After many years of being married, they had to be separated because of their health issues; one went to a memory care home while the other stayed home with you and received 24-hour in-home care.  Still, every week, you and your companion caregiver accompany your mom to visit your father, and although your mom has Alzheimer’s, she still has lucid moments when she remembers certain important dates and events.  You recently received the unfortunate news about your father’s passing, but you haven’t broken the news to your mother yet.  The family has been making funeral arrangements, but you cannot put off the news much longer because your mom still asks about seeing your dad.  Should you tell her?

What might happen if you break the news?

Seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia most likely will not remember the news.  They will experience intense heartbreak for a while, but when they wake up again tomorrow, will they remember? Will they keep asking?

  • If you tell her, you may have to repeat the bad news again. You don’t know how long it will take for her to quit asking; ask yourself first if you are taking measures to process your own grief before you spill the beans to your loved one.
  • If you want to tell her now, you can say that your dad is in a better place. If she asks what that means, you can tell her that he passed on and let her grieve.  Observe your own reaction to her grief; how often will you be able to handle watching her reaction if she keeps asking?
  • Attend a Grief Recovery group in your community. There may be other members there who are or have been in a similar situation as yours.  They can provide great advice on how to grieve properly for your late parent so you make yourself emotionally available for your mom without burning out.
  • If you say your dad is temporarily unavailable, your mom may become more insistent about visiting him. It’s better to find euphemistic words to hint at your dad’s death, like “Dad is happier and is in a better place in heaven; don’t worry about him.”

Everyone is different.  It’s tough when an elderly loved one with Alzheimer’s because they may keep asking in years to come, but if you have a live-in companion care aide, that can help buffer the pain a little bit because you don’t always have to be the one to break the news to her every time she forgets.  Your Alzheimer’s caregiver can find ways to soothe your mother’s pain and distract her with other things.

About A-1 Home Care

A-1 Home Care was established in 1991 to provide high quality senior care at the most competitive rates in LA County.  As one of the few licensed, bonded and insured home care agencies in California, A-1 Home Care not only provides exceptional 24-hour in-home care services but they also protect your elderly loved ones from scam artists, predators, fraud and theft.  We offer a variety of services such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care, Multiple Sclerosis Care, Diabetes Care, Kidney Care, Cardiovascular Care, Incontinence Care and more.  Our live-in and live-out home care services are covered by long-term care insurance and veteran benefits.  If you are paying out-of-pocket, talk to one of our care managers about our easy financing options.

For quality 24-hour care, call A-1 Home Care at (562) 929-8400 or (949) 650-3800 or visit our website for services in Santa Monica, Hollywood, Pasadena, Burbank, Culver City, and other cities throughout Los Angeles County.

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Filed under At Home Care, Care at Home, Care giver, Caregivers, Home, Home Care, In Home Care, Los Angele County, Los Angeles CA, Pasadena CA

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